Harlowe, Anderson, Velazquez represent Atoms in state competition

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Fresh off an undefeated season and Patriot District team title, the AHS wrestlers moved on to individual competition at both the regional and state levels.

First up was the Northern Region Tournament. The top performances were turned in by sophomore Dane Harlowe, Stacey Anderson and Jack Velazquez, who all qualified for the state tournament with their performances at the regional level. Harlowe and Anderson each placed first in their respective weight classes, while Velazquez placed fourth.

At the Virginia State AAA Tournament, held Feb. 20 at Robinson Secondary School, Harlowe and Anderson again experienced tremendous success, with Harlowe taking second in the 112 lb weight division and Anderson placing fifth in the 171 lb weight division.

“Our guys wrestled very well,” said head coach Keith Sholders. “Dane wrestled a great tournament and had his best match of the season in the semis, but kind of ran into a buzz saw at the end. Stacey was at a disadvantage all year by weighing about 10 pounds less than everyone else in the weight but I’m very proud of the way he wrestled against a state finalist. And Jack had a great year for us and really raised a lot of eyebrows.”

This “buzz saw” was defending state champion Caleb Richardson of Cox HS in Virginia Beach. Harlowe wrestled well, but lost 8-3 after winning his three previous matches to get to the finals.

“I feel I wrestled pretty good considering the level of competition in my weight class,” said Harlowe. “However, I didn’t win so there is still much more I can improve upon.”

The team looks to replicate their success next year both as a team and as individuals.

“We want to repeat as district champs and continue to make a name for ourselves at the region and state levels,” said Sholders.

“I didn’t reach my goal of being a state champion, so that is definitely going to be my top priority next year,” said Harlowe. “I’m sure coach Sholders will help me get my name up on the wall under State Champions.”